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WORST MISTAKES MADE WHEN SELECTING SENIOR HOUSING

 

The following mistakes can complicate an already stressful decision.

 

Do NOT wait until an emergency to select a new lifestyle in a senior community. Making a choice in a crisis means you have fewer options. Start the process as early as possible. If you know you will need a rehabilitation facility; post knee surgery, have a facility selected prior to the procedure. If mom unexpectedly broke her hip; start on day one of her hospital stay looking at rehabilitation programs. The average length of a stay in the hospital is now only 3-4 days for a hip replacement. You do not want to start the selection process on day three of the hospital stay!

 

NOT looking into assisted living options.  Assisted living does not mean you have lost your independence. It means you need a little help with your activities of daily living. You will still have your own apartment, an assortment of activities to choose from, restaurant style meals, etc. Assisted living is one of the viable alternatives to skilled nursing as it can provide 24 hours of supervision. 
 

NOT checking out survey results. Another free resource is www.medicare.gov where you can enter your city or zip code of the nursing home locations you are looking in. Survey data for all Medicare regulated nursing homes which can be compared with the nursing home comparison tool. This is only a guide. You'll still want to tour the facilities of interest and then decide which works best for you. Keep in mind the rating system doesn’t take into account the chronically ill so the star rating may be skewed. 

 

NOT talking to staff and other residents. Taking a tour of the potential community is a way to determine if happy staff and residents are part of the environment. Every building has its own feel and the dynamics are different in all locations. The care and support in the community is more important than up to date decorating.

 

NOT a match for care needs. If your family member has special needs such as dialysis, does the facility provide this in-house or will they need to be transported three times a week to a dialysis center?  If your family member has dementia, does the care facility provide this specialized type of care management? Does the staff create a home like setting and really cares about the residents needs as the priority?

 

Throughout the selection process keep in mind the needs of the family caregiver. The location and services provided should be decreasing your stress level not increasing it. Don’t stay with a poor selection. If things are not working out and you have attempted to resolve them with the administration make a change. Happiness within you and your family members’ lives is worth the trouble.

 

What you need to remember is you are trying to find senior housing for your loved one and your selection needs to be about them. If they aren’t happy there they may move home and never move again. Choose wisely and include your loved one if at all possible.